Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with Death

In many parts of the world, people understand the natural cycle of life and death. In America, it seems to be the opposite. Everyone expects immortality because of the vast scientific advances and research being done. It’s almost as if people feel entitled to living forever at any cost. But this way of thinking needs…

The Dangers of Uninformed Autonomy

“There is a dignity in dying that doctors should not dare to deny.” [ Anonymous] Today, a patient I have been helping to take care of died. I and the medical team knew that she would die soon, but for the past 18 days, we have been sticking little bandaids on various components of her…

Lessons from (other people’s) faith

“God has no religion.” Mahatma Gandhi Approximately one week into my elective in Palliative Care, I am learning to bite my tongue when it comes to discussions on religion and faith. My own religious persuasion has evolved and devolved over time, and I cannot pinpoint any specific game-changing factors in the process. What I do…

Yellow

Whenever we admit an especially nice patient to the hospital whose diagnosis seems worrisome and somewhat elusive, we assume the worst — cancer. Of course this has no scientific basis whatsoever; it is simply the experience that all of us have collectively had throughout our training. Such is the case with a patient I admitted…

Three

Being a medical student in North Philadelphia and then going on to residency in New Orleans have shaped my view of medicine and the vast injustices people face. Most of my clinical rotations in medical school dealt with the underserved and uninsured population. These are hands down the most challenging patients to treat for reasons…